Don’t let the hard stuff in life keep you from doing something great

The year 2015 has been filled with great challenges, BUT with those challenges has come even greater victory. I just have to share my heart some more because I want to encourage others to never quit. I am so glad I did not quit.

Last Fall (2014), I was at the beginning of a medical issue that knocked me back a bit. I was very discouraged because it was not how I thought my year would end and it was definitely not how I thought 2015 would start. My challenges were starting right as I was trying to take a huge leap of faith to start up with college again after quitting over 20 years ago. I was about to become a 49 year old freshman at community college. I was not sure if I was being brave or just plain CRAZY. Someone even suggested that I wait until my medical issues were addressed before taking on the challenge of school. But instead of listening to them, I decided to listen to God. He gave me a great dream and a desire with amazing strength to just do it. So, I did. Here I am a year later and when I look back, all I can say is WOW. And, thank You, Lord!

I cannot help but think…if I had not stepped out in faith a year ago, I would never have known that I am a very good student – a straight “A” student thus far with one year and five classes behind me already. If I had not stepped out in faith to get offline and get back on campus, I never would have had the chance to sow some seeds for Jesus into those young hearts starting out in life that I spent four hours with each week for four months. If I had not stepped out in faith, I never would have experienced God’s amazing power in me to keep up with a full-time job that drains me in addition to what seemed like a ton of challenging writing assignments. It seemed impossible, but it is so true that nothing is impossible with God.

If I had not taken God for His Word, stayed in His Word, and claimed His Word every single day over my life, I would not have been able to silence the accuser (the devil) who was really good at convincing me that I was  too old and not very smart. That I was still worthless and that I will never change. That I deserved the hard things that I was going through with doctors. And because I was not contributing enough, I was just a burden that everyone would be better off without. These thoughts were real and were very difficult to fight off. But my perseverance paid off and I have great victory over the enemy like never before.

If I had walked away from my brothers and sisters in Christ who hold me up and help me get up every time I get knocked down, I cannot imagine where I would be today. I know I would not be here writing this. I am grateful to know first hand that God gives us the strength to keep on keeping on, IF we let Him! I am grateful for my teachable spirit that keeps me pressing on.

If I had given up and quit like I had been tempted to do so many times, perhaps God would not have given me a wonderful opportunity to reach the two hearts who gave their hearts to Jesus for the first time this year! (I can still hear the angels rejoicing!!!)

If I had not proclaimed that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (even though it was hard to believe at times), if I did not get back up after every fall, if I did not learn to trust and lean on God for EVERYTHING, if I had allowed myself to go completely backward and lose all hope again and give in like I did in the past, I sure would not be here trying to encourage others not to quit.

So no matter what you are going through, no matter how hard or how impossible it seems, no matter how many people tell you “No” or “You can’t do it”, no matter how bad of a person you think you are because of past mistakes, I hope you will listen to someone who has overcome these very types of challenges. NOTHING is ever too hard for God. Nothing surprises God. No one can ever stop God from His great plan for our lives. He has a plan for every single one of us. If you make your plans His plans and keep Him first, I do not know how you cannot succeed.

Now I do not want you to think any of it will be easy, if it were easy, you would not need God. And if you do not need God, then you cannot be sure of any kind of real success. I know that I do not want to live that way. I am tired of living that way. I lived that way for too long and life was harder than it should have been. So now that I have learned many things the incredibly hard and painful way, I live to encourage others to seek God wholeheartedly and ask Him for the desires of HIS heart. He will give them to you. Trust me, they are much better than our own desires. And when He does give them to you, be ready to start the best days of your life.

So be encouraged! Dare to dream dreams big enough for God to fit in. Make every effort to stay out of His way (you can avoid that if you stop trying to do His job – stop trying to be in control) and fasten your seatbelt. Just sayin’!!

God loves you and He’s waiting to hear from you. He wants to do great things in your life, but you have to get out of His way so He can do an amazing work in you. Are you ready? Just do it!

The below photo is of me a couple of months ago. I am sure I was the oldest freshman in the college library at the time (and probably most of the time). I am smiling because I really can do all things through Christ who strengthens me — I ended the class with an A+ — First time ever in my entire life as a student! So see what I mean? Dare to dream with God and never give up!

me

 

A Christmas miracle, no matter what…

God blessed me with an incredible miracle this year. I’ll be sharing more about it, but in the meantime, click here for a little preview: The Holy Spirit of Christmas 2015

I know God can touch more hearts like He’s touched mine so I am praying for your Christmas miracle no matter what you’re going through. May your heart be filled with the Holy Spirit of Christmas and may your Christmas miracle come too!

 

So I am 49, tired, and a freshman at community college. Am I crazy???

Why yes, I believe I am. Well, I mean that I am crazy for the God of my life. ♥ In January 2015, I took a leap of faith and started taking courses that I had quit on in the early 1990s when life became too hard and the depression and the alcohol abuse took over. God rescued me from the depression and drinking and now I have this incredible passion to walk with others suffering from things that I did for years. I am not sure exactly where God may be leading me, but I felt led to major in Psychology. I always regretted quitting school when I did, but I never felt smart enough to continue on. And not having money made it easy to forget about it. Now at this age, with a full-time job that drains me, the educational journey for me is HARD. I had to overcome the lies that I was too old to get started again. I had to overcome the lies that I wasn’t smart enough. I am truly an overcomer! I am grateful to God for that. I am grateful for my pastor and so many people who cheer me on. I heard this year that a 99 year old woman received the AA that she had longed for all her life. That really did encourage me. I am glad I am starting this at 49. There is much hope that I will continue on and get my Bachelor’s degree and I hope and pray that it will be way before I turn 99. 🙂 I am learning not to worry so much about the time. Like everything else on this journey, it’s one day at a time with God leading the way. I can’t lose when He’s leading.

The more I put my trust in God and depend on Him to get me through, the more incredible and blessed this journey gets. I was never a good student back then, but I am a good student now. I am getting grades I was never able to get before. I am in awe of what God is doing. He gets all the credit because I know there is no way I can do any of this without Him.

I hope this part of the story that God is writing into my life will encourage and inspire someone who has been hesitating to get started with something great because they think they are too old or not smart enough. Do not believe the lies. I am going to throw out that old familiar Bible verse that people throw out all the time because if you believe it with your heart, and you are aligned with God’s will for your life, it is SO true. Matthew 19:26 says that with God, ALL things are possible. I hope you believe it, I sure do. He is making the impossible very possible in my own life. I am always so in awe of how the Lord moves in the lives of those who believe and put their faith into action.

When God first made Himself real to me, He planted a strong desire in my heart to serve Him in ministry for the rest of my life. I thought being single with no kids made me a perfect candidate to become a missionary and travel to other places and minister to the lost. My first experience was in 2011 when I went with my church to help build loft homes for the homeless in Mexico. I was hooked. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t speak Spanish. God’s love did all the talking. It was amazing. When the chance came to do it again, I was there! I remember being nervous the first time not knowing what to expect and very nervous at the thought of staying where there was no electricity or running water, but it turned out to be the start of something amazing in my new life. I was such a baby Christian then and I’ve grown so much since. I am grateful that my passion to reach the lost continues to grow stronger than ever.  I thought for sure that the experience of getting my feet wet on a small scale like that would lead me to a much bigger call in missions, but the call never came. At least, not the call I was expecting.

For a while, I have longed to work in a Christian environment but it hasn’t been the right time. A few years ago when my walk with the Lord was so new, I thought it was time get out of my secular job and look for something in ministry. But after some wise counsel and much prayer, God opened my eyes and showed me that I was right where He wants me. I had no idea back then that a mission field could be right where you are. God provides many “ministry moments” for me at work and for that I am grateful. I believe He has a plan to move me to somewhere else in the future. I don’t think He would have nudged me back to school if He didn’t. So I can be glad that I am still where I need to be and He is providing what I need through it. I couldn’t go back to school without a steady job that pays the rent.

Since I do not work in an environment like a church or other type of non-profit where I would be surrounded by hearts for God like mine, I really had it on my heart to at least pursue my educational goals in that type of environment in a Christian college. I LOVE to be in fellowship with other Christians. I love being in places where God is in the center of EVERYTHING. Places where we can openly praise, pray, and share God stories. I am just drawn to that kind of environment every chance I get. But I realized something huge today. I think God is showing me something that took me a while to get but I’m glad I’m finally getting it (I’m sure He is too!). The Lord showed me that the longing I have had to be in a Christian College is not where He wants me right now. I had a question enter my heart just a bit ago and I know it was from the Lord. He said, “Debbie, how do you think you are going to reach the lost if you are in the comfortable surroundings of people who are not lost? I need you in the midst of people who are hurting and have not reached out for Me yet.” Wow. I can see now that the community college is my mission field “for such a time as this” and it no longer matters to me for how long. Perhaps I will get to attend a Christian school later on. We’ll see. In the meantime, I can reach a ton of people for God between now and the age of 99! 😀

God is going to bring many ministry moments my way on this educational journey, I can just sense it. And as far as my longing to be surrounded by fellow Christians, He reminded me how He has blessed me with my chosen family at Hope Center as well as other brothers and sisters He continues to strategically place on my journey to heaven. I couldn’t be more blessed and more surrounded by loving Christians with amazing hearts for Him. What was I thinking? I believe I was seeing things from my own perspective and not even thinking about His. I had a desire, it was a good and godly one, but it doesn’t seem that it was coming from Him like I thought. As usual, His desire for me is even better than I could ever imagine.

I love dreaming dreams that only my God can make come true. What a life this is. A redeemed life now filled with so much love, hope, miracles, breakthroughs, and God-sized dreams that cannot fail because He is guiding and providing. I will stumble now and then, but He never lets me go or allows me to get too far off course.

Thanks for listening to my overflowing heart. I pray that if you are hesitating to do something  for God that you still see as impossible, that you will stop listening to the lies and let God take over so He can take you to places you never dreamed of. You won’t be sorry. Time is going to go by anyway, right? So just go for it. I am so glad I am going for it and I know you will be too. God bless!

Glory to You, LORD. Thank You for choosing me and giving me the courage and strength to keep saying yes so You can keep making impossible dreams come true! ♥♥♥